Delray Puts Down Roots All Year
Delray puts down Roots all year long
By Patty Pensa
June 29, 2001
DELRAY BEACH + It started as a one-day
festival 24 years ago, grew to 30 days of summertime activities and now has
become a year-round celebration of African-American and Caribbean
For the first time, the Roots Cultural Festival has expanded its
programming to offer arts education in the winter, spring and fall. But starting
today, summer activities will begin as usual. Organizers are hoping about 50,000
will attend the various events between now and August.
In May, a Kwanzaa
seminar introduced this year's theme, ujima, which means collective work and
"Together we are building and maintaining our community,"
said Programming Director Elizabeth Wesley. "Together you accomplish so much,
and it's up to us to keep that community going."
For the essay and
oratory contests, children are encouraged to focus their writing on that
The festival ranges from academic competitions and educational
workshops to recreational activities and entertainment events. For the oratory
contest, the theme is "Standing Together to Build and Maintain Our
"It's all our responsibility," Wesley said. The Aug. 6
workshop "Strategies for Serving the Homeless" also will look at ways of helping
others in need, he said.
The culminating Festival in the Park in August
features popular and hip-hop music, but Roots organizers wanted to round out
children's exposure to music with its "classical series" the rest of the year.
The program, which began in December and will run through July, holds concerts
and brings music and theater instructors to introduce different arts disciplines
to the children. For example, about 30 children started learning the violin last
To continue the program in October, Roots organizers are waiting
to hear whether they've won a $120,000 grant from the Children's Services
Council so about 100 children can gain the same exposure.
"A lot of the
stuff children listen to have violent themes, and we feel [the classics] will
give them a more gentle outlook on life," Wesley said. "It helps make you a more
well-rounded person."Patty Pensa can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-243-6609.
Copyright © 2001, South Florida